My Book Review of THE CURSE OF TIME (Bloodstone #1) by M.J. Mallon @Marjorie_Mallon

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THE CURSE OF TIME (Bloodstone #1) by M.J. Mallon

 

Goodreads Description

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who’s imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house. When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden pathway where she encounters Ryder, a charismatic, but perplexing stranger.

With the help of a magical paint set, and some crystal wizard stones she discovers the truth about a shocking curse that has destroyed her family’s happiness.

My Review

Amelina’s family is very unusual. Her parents seem to be cursed, especially after her father mysteriously disappeared and returned. A girl who used to go to school with Amelina is imprisoned in the mirrors of the family home and the family’s black cat seems to know far more than he should. When Amelina receives and invitation to visit the magical Crystal Cottage she meets a mysterious stranger and discovers the truth about her family.

I loved the main idea and concepts of this story. There are lots a of crystals mixed in with folklore and myths. I found that the book jumped around from one idea to the next a bit too suddenly and it was often difficult to keep up with what was going on. These issues could definitely be cleared up with another round of editing and proofreading.

THE CURSE OF TIME is a great concept for a young adult fantasy novel and a fantastic effort from a debut author. Many thanks to the author for sending me a review copy.

About the Author

 

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M.J. Mallon author of THE CURSE OF TIME (Bloodstone #1)

 

I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years at my lovely blog home Kyrosmagica: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, middle grade fiction and micro poetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters. After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

 

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#BookReview ‘P is for Pearl’ by Eliza Henry-Jones @ehenryjones

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P is for Pearl by Eliza Henry-Jones

Goodreads Blurb

From the talented author of the celebrated novels In the Quiet and Ache comes a poignant and moving book that explores the stories we tell ourselves about our families, and what it means to belong.

Seventeen-year-old Gwendolyn P. Pearson has become very good at not thinking about the awful things that have happened to her family. She has also become used to people talking about her dead mum. Or not talking about her and just looking at Gwen sympathetically. And it’s easy not to think about awful things when there are wild beaches to run along, best friends Loretta and Gordon to hang out with – and a stepbrother to take revenge on.

But following a strange disturbance at the cafe where she works, Gwen is forced to confront what happened to her family all those years ago. And she slowly comes to realise that people aren’t as they first appear and that like her, everyone has a story to tell.

‘P is for Pearl is a complex, authentic exploration of grief, friendship, mental illness, family and love, sensitively written by a writer whose voice will resonate with teen readers.’ – Books+Publishing

My Review

Nobody writes about grief and trauma like Eliza Henry-Jones. With qualifications English, Psychology and grief, loss and trauma counselling Henry-Jones knows her stuff, but I think her writing skills transcend the basic knowledge she has gained. Every novel by this author seems to get right to the heart and soul of her characters and I am always able to relate to her characters almost as though she is writing about my own personal experiences.

P is for Pearl only really fits into the YA genre because the main characters are in high school, but readers of any age will relate to Gwendolyn’s story and her battle to unravel the mysteries of the past so that she can move on and heal her wounds. I know it seems strange to enjoy novels about grief and trauma, but Henry-Jones is so good at it. I found it remarkable to learn that the author wrote the first draft of this novel while she was in high school!

Unrivaled by Alyson Noel

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Goodreads Synopsis

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Unrivaled is #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël’s first book in a thrilling suspense trilogy about how our most desperate dreams can become our darkest nightmares.

Details

Title: Unrivaled (Beautiful Idols #1)

Author: Alyson Noel

ISBN: 0062324527 (ISBN13: 9780062324528)

Published: May 10th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 420

Genre: Mystery, Romance,  Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts

Fun beach read!

Unrivaled is the first novel in the Beautiful Idols trilogy by Alyson Noel. The novel focuses on three people vying to win Ira Redman’s Unrivaled Nightlife promo competition. Ira owns several Hollywood nightclubs and the competitors score points based on how many celebrities they can bring into Ira’s clubs and how famous those celebrities are.

Layla dreams of becoming a journalist but currently runs a celebrity blog called Beautiful Idols.

Aster feels stifled by her wealthy but conservative Persian parents and aspires to become an actress.

Tommy has just moved to Hollywood from Oklahoma and dreams of becoming a famous guitarist and showing up his father who doesn’t even know he exists.

Madison Brooks is a star actress and worth the highest amount of points in Ira’s competition. As the novel progresses it becomes clear that there are dark secrets in Madison’s past. Madison’s story is where the mystery comes into play.

Unrivaled is a really fun read, perfect to take with you to the beach. 

There is quite a lot of character development and back story throughout the beginning and middle of the novel and a bit of a slow buildup before all the action starts to take place. This is something I enjoy but I think some mystery fans might find it a little bit too slow for them.

I also loved that the chapters are all named after songs. I found that fit in really well with the Hollywood setting of this novel.

There is quite a lot of character development and back story throughout the beginning and middle of the novel and a bit of a slow buildup before all the action starts to take place. This is something I enjoy but I think some mystery fans might find it a little bit too slow for them. The action starts to heat up towards the end of the novel, just in time to leave you dying to know what happens after the crazy cliffhanger. I’ll definitely need to check out the next book in the series to find out!

 

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

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Goodreads Synopsis

Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts (no survivors) her heart is broken. But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humperdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairy tale like no other, of fencing, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, bad men, good men, snakes, spiders, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passion and miracles, and … a damn fine story.

Details

Title: The Princess Bride

Author: William Goldman

ISBN: 0345418263 (ISBN13: 9780345418265)

Published: August 2008 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 1973)

Pages: 317

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Adventure, Young Adult

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts

The Princess Bride is possibly the only time I ever saw the movie before I read the book.  I must have watched the movie about a million times, as did most 80s kids, so I was a little bit apprehensive about reading the book around the wrong way after such a long time. I didn’t have anything to worry about because I enjoyed the book just as much as I loved the movie. I couldn’t help but picture the movie characters as I was reading, but I found that most of the action and classic lines in the novel were portrayed accurately in the movie.

Like this one!

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I found Goldman’s fictional great Florinese author, S. Morgenstern, and his “classic tale of true love and high adventure” an interesting technique. It’s definitely an interesting way of skipping through all the boring bits and adds an air of excitement to the story.

 

 

 

 

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight #bookreview

Fast paced thriller with a complex teen heroine. outliers

The Outliers began with such an interesting concept. Kimberly McCreight wrote that she became interested in the highly emotional frequency that her daughter and many of her female friends often operate on. This is often seen as a flaw in character, but the idea that perhaps it’s actually a great strength led the author to explore this concept in The Outliers.

I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel. A lot of people would say that I’m far too sensitive and emotional, but I have recently begun to see some of the benefits this can bring. I often look back to times where people or situations made me feel uncomfortable and more often than not hindsight tells me that I should have listened to what my gut instinct was telling me!

The main character, 16 year old Wiley, suffers from extreme anxiety and agoraphobia which has gotten much worse since her mother passed away in a recent car accident. Even though her relationship with her best friend, Cassie, has been on the rocks lately when she goes missing Wiley knows that she has to help her.

Wiley and Cassie’s boyfriend, Jasper, decide to drive across the country to rescue Cassie when they start receiving text messages from her asking for help. I have to admit that it is a little bit unbelievable that Wiley was able to leave the house so easily, but you never know how strong you can be until you’re in the middle of an emergency.

There are so many plot twists to Wiley and Jasper’s trip to rescue Cassie that I probably shouldn’t get too much into this part of the novel to avoid spoilers. It’s incredibly fast-paced and expect to have everything that you thought was going on turned on its head at least a couple of times.  I’m definitely hanging out to read the second installment of the series after the huge plot twist at the end!!

Description

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help.

Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

Details

Title: The Outliers (The Outliers #1)

Author: Kimberley McCreight

ISBN: 0062359096 (ISBN13: 9780062359094)

Published:  May 3rd 2016 by HarperCollins
Genre:   Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: Paperback 468
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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Conjuror #bookreview

conjurorI have to admit that I am a massive Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Captain Jack Harkness fan, so I was a little bit geeked out to have the opportunity to read John Barrowman’s latest novel written in collaboration with his sister, Carole E. Barrowman.

There were a lot of features that I loved about this novel. First of all, there was a really great mix of diverse characters. Considering that Conjuror’s target audience is mostly teenagers, it made me smile to find a bad ass female Indian policewoman, an African American teenager, and LGBT characters all in the one book like it was no big deal.

Secondly, combining magic, mystery, art, and music into the same book is a pretty interesting concept and not something you come across every day.

I did feel as though I had missed out on some of the general background of the characters, especially the twins, although I have recently discovered that they appear in the Hollow Earth series also, so that’s probably why I felt their stories just jumped right in.

I would recommend Conjuror to fans of YA fantasy. It was an enjoyable and quick read, with some really interesting and diverse characters and concepts. I will definitely be hanging out to read the second installment because I’m dying to find out what happens next!

Description

Sixteen-year-old twins Matt and Em Calder are Animare: they can bring art to life, and travel in time through paintings. They work for Orion—the Animare MI5—protecting the secrecy of their order and investigating crimes committed by their own kind. It’s dangerous work. But when they are sent to Edinburgh to find a teenage boy who can alter reality with his music, they are drawn into something more dangerous still. For this boy, Remy, is the Conjurer’s Son. And he carries something that could change humanity forever.

Details

Title: Conjuror (Orion Chronicles #1)

Author: John and Carole E. Barrowman

ISBN: 9781781856376

Published:  April 21st 2016 by Head of Zeus
Genre:  Science Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction Fantasy
Pages: 320
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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#Review: Broken Sky by L.A. Weatherly

Broken Sky is the first book of the Broken trilogy, set in a dystopian America that is brokenskyreminiscent of the 1940s. The book has a very noir feeling to it, the technology, dress and entertainment in this world are true to the 1940s war-time genre, but the world in Broken Sky has a lot of differences. In this world nuclear war has been banned after WWII and disputes between countries are settled by pilots who are known as Peacefighters. America has been split into sections, with the leader of the Central States running his country based on Astrology.

In the Broken Sky world having the wrong star sign can be fatal. Basically, everybody in the Central States has their Astrology charts done and if there is anything in their stars that could mean trouble they are labelled ‘Discordant’ and sent to concentration camps very similar to Nazi Germany. The evil leader of the Central States is looking to increase his power of course. I really enjoyed the comparisons between Discordants and Jews and how well it highlighted the inhumanity of the Holocaust and punishing a group of people simply for the circumstances of their birth.

The main character, Amity, is a Peacefighter for the Western Seaboard which once used to be part of the USA. Amity is a brilliant YA heroine. She’s tough but fair and is one of the best Peacefighters for the Western Seaboard. She has to battle deception, betrayal, and corruption to protect herself and her family.

Broken Sky is also written from the point of view of Kay who is an astrologist in the Central States. She doesn’t believe in Astrology in the slightest but she is skilled at reading people and telling them what they want to hear. During the novel she manages to work her way up to becoming the top Astrologer for the Central States, so we learn a lot about the evilly enigmatic Central States leader through her.

Broken Sky is perfect for all the dystopian lovers out there. There is plenty of action, adventure, deception, romance, and betrayal. The world is just similar enough to 1940s America to be familiar, but the Astrology spin added a refreshing point of difference. I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t much about my own star sign though. Hopefully somebody in the next book is an Aquarian! This is the kind of YA novel that can be enjoyed by all ages, with just the right amount of romance to add to the story. And make sure you’re sitting somewhere you will be able to hold onto your seats for the crazy twist at the end! I can not wait to read the sequel now…

Corrected to add that there is an Aquarian character and just as I suspected they are on the Discordant list!

Description

Welcome to a ‘perfect’ world.

Where war is illegal, where harmony rules.

And where your date of birth marks your destiny.

But nothing is perfect.

And in a world this broken, who can Amity trust?

From the bestselling author of the Angel trilogy comes Broken Sky – an exhilarating epic set in a daring and distorted echo of 1940s America and first in a new trilogy.

Details

Title: Broken Sky

Author: L.A. Weatherly

ISBN: 9781409572022

Published:  March 1st 2016 by Usborne
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 500
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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